South rallies past Eagles, 7-4
Lanesville head coach Sean Smith said he knew it was only a matter of time.
After South Central had stranded six runners in scoring position in the first five innings of last Thursday afternoon’s Southern Athletic Conference game, the squad came through with a four-spot in the top of the sixth inning.
That one sub-par frame turned the host Eagles’ 4-1 lead into a 5-4 deficit and eventually into a 7-4 loss at Ed Jaegers Memorial Field.
‘They just kept pecking away and pecking away, and we knew eventually they were going to start scoring,’ Smith said. ‘We haven’t done that one thing to create a break for ourselves this year. The last two or three ball games we’ve been coming along.
‘Sectional is at the end of the season, and that’s our ultimate goal. We’re getting better and getting better at the right time. We just let this one slip away.’
A two-out, two-RBI triple by Josh McRae capped South’s four-run explosion.
‘That was a perfect time for that,’ Rebels’ coach Dr. Robert Brown said. ‘In the last two or three games, Josh has started hitting better. The top of the lineup has been pretty solid, but as you noticed today, the bottom part of the lineup was hitting the ball, too, and that’s what we’ll need against teams like Henryville.’
South (12-3, 4-0 SAC) tacked the first run on the board in the top of the second.
Nick Gehlbach reached on an error and scored on a two-out, line-drive single to left by Chad McRae.
The Eagles (6-13, 2-2 SAC) showed their moxie by bouncing back for four runs in the bottom of the inning.
The explosion started with a one-out walk to Eric Hancock that was followed by a RBI double by Seth Jacobs. Jeremy Smitley singled to left to score Jacobs and moved to second on a throw to the plate.
After Smitley advanced to third on a wild pitch, Scott Lewis walked and went to second (pitcher’s indifference). With two outs, Eric Hess hit one deep in the hole at short to bring in two more runs, with Lewis hustling around from first and ending with a head-first slide.
While the Eagles wouldn’t score again, South chipped away at the three-run deficit by scratching one run across in the top of the fourth.
Gehlbach doubled to left-center, went to third on a ground-out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cory Stengel.
In the sixth, Brad Mercer had a bloop single and Stengel reached on a fielder’s choice. Chad McRae’s base knock scored Mercer, and Dustin Hornickel, who came in to pinch run for Stengel, was plated on a hit to center by Chad McRae.
Josh McRae followed with a two-RBI triple to right-center, and then Deavon Wiseman roped one to left for the final run of the inning.
For insurance, Wiseman scored again in the seventh after walking, moving to second and third on two wild pitches and coming in on an infield single by Mercer.
Trailing 7-4, Lanesville looked to make things interesting in the final inning.
Adam Brown singled and Hess was hit by a pitch from Wiseman to bring up potential tying run.
Taylor Hess bounced out to Chad McRae ‘ who tagged out Brown ‘ at third and then Aaron McKim grounded into a 5-3 twin killing to end the game.
‘We are just like this close to where we need to be,’ Smith said. ‘If we get our hitting going, I think our fielding has come along. I’d like to think we could do some damage in the sectional.’
South, which lost a 13-10 slugfest to North Harrison the previous night, had nine hits in the win over Lanesville, with several more line drives that were fielded nicely by the Eagles.
‘We were hitting the ball well. I was pretty confident that we were going to bust through,’ Brown said. ‘Any win here is good for me. I don’t think I’ve ever beaten Lanesville on their home field, so, as far as I’m concerned, this is a good win.’
Lanesville’s Brown suffered the loss while Wiseman took the win. Brown was 2-4 at the plate and Hess was 2-3 with two RBI.
On the Rebels’ side, Chad McRae was 2-5 with a pair of RBI, Wiseman was 3-4 with a RBI, and Mercer was 2-4 with a RBI.